Fremantle forward Sam Switkowski is no guarantee to play again this AFL season after scans confirmed he has another fracture in his back.
Switkowski suffered the latest injury during a heavy collision with James Sicily in last week’s 13-point win over Hawthorn.
The Dockers goalsneak spent time in the rooms before returning to the field to complete the match, finishing with 17 possessions and five tackles.
Subsequent scans confirmed a fracture in his back.
Switkowski missed the entire 2020 campaign after struggling to recover from a stress fracture in his back and it remains to be seen how long his latest setback will rule him out for.
“Sam will require a period of non-running followed by a repeat scan before being cleared to progress in his return to training,” Fremantle football operations manager Peter Bell said.
“It is not possible to ascertain an exact time frame with this type of injury.
“It is disappointing that we will be without Sam for a period of time as he is an integral part of our team and one of our best trademark players.”
Switkowski’s frenetic pressure has become a key component of Fremantle’s successful forward line this year and his absence will be keenly felt.
The 25-year-old had only just returned after serving a two-match ban for his chicken wing tackle on Collingwood’s Jack Ginnivan.
Fremantle wingman Blake Acres is expected to miss about a month after tearing his hamstring in the win over Hawthorn.
But forwards Michael Frederick (club suspension) and Matt Taberner (back) are set to return for next week’s clash with Carlton at Marvel Stadium.
Fremantle (10-3) are third on the ladder, just 5.7 per cent adrift of the ladder-leading Brisbane Lions.